Birding at Mabamba | 1 Day

birding in mabamba-Mabamba Swamp

From US $1400
per person (sharing)

Visiting: Mabamba Bay, Mpanda Forest

Main Activities

  • Bird Watching in Mabamba
  • Visiting Mpanga Forest

Route Map

Birding at Mabamba Swamp — 1 Day


This tour gives you opportunity to see the most vulnerable bird-the shoebill , which is only found in Africa. Uganda is one of those countries in Africa where you can find the shoebill. The Shoebill is a huge prehistoric looking bird, much sought after by bird watchers from across the globe. It’s named due to its shoe shaped bill. It’s predominantly found in remote wetlands looking for mud fish and eels. When you visit Mabamba swamp, you stand 90% chances of seeing the Shoebill. A female shoebill hatches two chicks but allows one to die if the other has proven to be stronger and healthier.

Mabamba is an extensive marsh stretching through a long narrow bay, fringed with papyrus towards the western main body of Lake Victoria in Mpigi District. It has the status of unprotected area with bird categories, globally threatened species and Lake Victoria Basin biome species. This Important Bird Area (IBA) is one of the best marshy areas along the northern shores of Lake Victoria for bird watching: it is the closest place to Kampala. The climate is similar to other areas of northern shorelines of the lake with 1200 – 1500mm of rain and an average minimum temperature of 17C and average maximum temperature of 26C.

The other area of visiting for this adventure is Mpanga Forest. Mpanga Forest is a small patch of natural equatorial rainforest covering about 453 hectares. It is found inMawokota- Mpigi Districtabout 37 kilometers southwest of Kampala and is conveniently located along the Kampala – Masaka highway. The forest can be reached within an hour of driving from Kampala.

Despite of its small size, it supports an impressive biodiversity for fauna and flora. It has 500species of trees and shrubs, 300 species of birds, 97 butterflies, and 112 moths. Three species of monkeys can be seen in the forest such as Red-tailed monkey, Black-and-white colobus monkeys and Vervet monkeys. There are also a number of small mammals including Pottos, Pangolins and Bushabies. Spending a night in this forest therefore gives you an opportunity to spot these rare nocturnals.

Mpanga Forest is surrounded by a community of traditional drum makers who frequently and illegally enter the forest looking for the soft trees that are suitable for the drum making

Day 1 — From Kampala to Mabamba Swamp – Mpanga Forest

birding at mabamba


The guide picks and drive you southwest to Mpigi town then branch off to Mabamba ramsar site. It takes one and half hours to reach Mabamba. Normally, boats are used to paddle through the channels ofthe swamp in search of the Shoe bill .Generally; it takes between two to three hours to locate the Shoebill. Also, other species of water birds like the African Jacanas, Yellow billed Ducks, White faced whistling ducks, Long toed Plovers, Village Weavers, Purple Swamphens, Northern brown throated weaver, Malachite king fisher, Grey headed gulls, Gull billed terns, White winged warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, African darter, Rufous bellied heron among others can be seen.

After the visit to Mabamba, we return, have lunch en route (packed) and then after proceed to Mpanga forest to bird watch other forest birds such as the Little Greenbul, Lesser Honey Guide, Grey headed Nigrita, White breasted Nigrita, Western black headed Oriole, White spotted Fluff tail, Red tailed Bristtlebill, Fire crested Alethe and so many different forest bird species.

Given time, you may visit the drum makers at Mpambire and have fun and learning moments about drums and culture in Uganda. The drum was/is a musical instrument used during the traditional functions for example traditional weddings, coronations among others.


Costs include

  • Ground transport
  • Boat fees
  • Services of the guide
  • Mpanga Eco-tourism fee
  • Mpambire drum makers
  • Bottled water in the safari vehicle
  • Lunch

Costs exclude

  • Insurance
  • Visa
  • Flight ticket
  • Tips
  • Any other extras and optionals

Price — US $230 per person (For two people)

The price slightly increases if you decide to travel as a solo traveler. Conversely, the price payable  per person reduces from the stated amount if the tour is booked by more than two people.

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